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Renewal Trust allotments

“St Ann’s is more than just an allotment site, it’s also an important green space, community resource, visitor destination, habitat for rare plants and wildlife and a living piece of social heritage and history – just a stone’s throw from Nottingham city centre.”

Smiley Team

1 week ago
Inner city Nottingham doesn’t seem the most likely spot to find one of the world’s largest urban allotment sites.

But the 75-acre St Ann’s Allotments sit proudly just 1.5km from the city centre, and have proved to be a haven not just for the hundreds of birds, insects and plants that live there, but also the gardeners who rent the 670 allotments too.

Established in 1830, the allotments were left empty and neglected in the 1980s and 90s, but a huge community effort led by local charity The Renewal Trust secured several financial grants, and a £4.5m restoration of the site was finally completed in 2016.

And for Wanda Mayer, 40, renting an allotment at the site has helped to transform her life.

Wanda suffers from anxiety and depression, and has found the peace of gardening and growing her own produce greatly helps her condition.

She said: “I can be really down, but if I come up here and do something my mood changes. My mum has to push me to come sometimes, but it always helps.”

The plots at St Ann’s are large – about 420 square metres on average – and hidden away behind high hedges and walls.

Wanda added: “It allows me to socialise, but to do it on my terms. For the first three years I only talked to a couple of people, but now I bump into other gardeners and chat to them.

“Here it’s calm and peaceful. It gives me something to look forward to.”

St Ann’s is also home to a range of community groups who find tending an allotment leads to improved health and wellbeing for their members, as well as an abundant supply of fruit and vegetables.

And the site hosts an impressive array of wildlife, including 59 species of bird - some of which are on red and amber lists of high conservation concern in the UK - along with 104 types of moth, 18 species of butterfly and nine types of damselfly and dragonfly.

Cherry Underwood, CEO of The Renewal Trust, who manage the site, said: “St Ann’s is more than just an allotment site, it’s also an important green space, community resource, visitor destination, habitat for rare plants and wildlife and a living piece of social heritage and history – just a stone’s throw from Nottingham city centre.”

In order to continue to maintain the allotments the charity needs a tractor with a hedge-cutting flail – or donations to help towards the cost of buying one. They are also looking for volunteers to help look after the entrance garden to the allotments.

If you think you can help please email Nicola Hinton the allotments manager on nicola@renewaltrust.org.uk or see renewaltrust.co.uk/what-we-do/st-anns-allotments/.

 

By Jenna Sloan
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